With so much negativity saturating the news, it is easy to get absorbed in the lives of the NFL players who are out creating chaos, getting arrested or are at odds with their team whatever the reason may be.
While steamy, dark headlines tend to trend when an NFL player gets caught in a negative spotlight, it is nice to recognize that there are some great, wholesome players out there doing fantastic things and enriching the lives of many people.
Here are five NFL players who fit the bill.
Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals
Fitzgerald, who is starting his 12th season with the Cardinals is one of the most wholesome and admired players in the business. He is considered a mentor and a friend by his fellow and former teammates.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 5, 2015
When not playing football, Fitzgerald spends much of his time organizing and attending charitable events.
Fitzgerald created The Larry Fitzgerald First Down Fund which raises money to help families with kids stay involved in positive activities in the summer and throughout the year. Proceeds raised by First Fund also go to support health-related organizations that work with families in crisis.
In addition to all the good Fitz does off the field, he keeps his body football-ready and is insane shape, as we saw in ESPN’s Body issue magazine.
As we can see, Fitzgerald has no tattoos, which is kind of rare in the NFL. He reportedly is not a “tattoo type of guy.” His signature look are his cool dreads which he keeps in honor of his late mother who lost her life to breast cancer. Fitzgerald’s mom always loved his long hair so he keeps it that way in memory of her. Also sweet is that he keeps a picture of his late mother in his wallet and looks at it each day.
The veteran receiver is just an all-around nice guy and there are endless stories about the positivity he brings to the lives of many.
Philip Rivers, quarterback San Diego Chargers
What’s not to admire about a guy who has seven children and an eighth on the way all with the same wife? That’s practically unheard of these days, especially in the professional sporting business.
Philip Rivers expecting baby number 8? All with ONE wife too#heistherealMVP
— twoD23 (@twodigitz23) May 1, 2015
Rivers certainly has come a long way since originally being selected by the New York Giants in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft and then just moments later being traded to the San Diego Chargers.
Now, he practically has his own football team.
As one of the NFL’s most tenured quarterbacks, Rivers remains as dedicated as ever. He has yet to miss one game since becoming the starter for the Chargers in 2006, which equates to 144 consecutive starts.
Rivers’ patience and determination are to be commended as well. It must be tough at times for Rivers, who has never made a trip to the Super Bowl, to watch the younger quarterbacks such as Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick play in the NFL’s biggest game of the year.
All of his hard work and loyalty to the Chargers has truly paid off in the form of a very big raise and four-year contract extension, recently inked.
We certainly didn’t hear about any whining or hold-out threats by Rivers, unlike other players who have recently crossed that line with their teams. And, just to show how much the Chargers care about Rivers, his new contract includes a no-trade clause which means they believe in him to help lead the franchise to success for the next four seasons.
Tim Tebow, quarterback Philadelphia Eagles
Of course we have to sneak the ever-so-wholesome Tebow in this article while he is still in the NFL. Despite all the teasing and flak he receives, Tebow remains one of the most admired and popular players in the NFL today. From his squeaky-clean image to his devout faith, there really is not much other than his questionable football skills to find fault with.
It’s also no wonder that Tebow recently made the list of top selling jerseys even though his NFL job is not 100 percent secure.
What is there not to admire about the guy?
A big part of Tebow’s life consists of raising funds for the Tim Tebow Foundation. The foundation helps ailing kids from all over the world and donates money to children’s programs and facilities.
Regarding the legislature mentioned above, that would be The Tim Tebow Bill. Yes such a thing does exist. Tebow helped legislature pass in the State of Alabama that allows home-schooled kids to participate in their local school’s sporting activities.
As it stands now, Tebow is fighting to compete for one of the 53 final spots on the Eagles roster. He currently sits at No. 4 in quarterback depth behind Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley.
However things work out for Tebow, he is admired by millions and seems to always rise to the top, turning lemons into lemonade along the way.
Eddie Lacy, running back Green Bay Packers
Lacy is entering his third year in the NFL and besides being a true workhorse for the team, he has a heart of gold when it comes to family.
Upon getting drafted by the NFL, it had been Lacy’s dream to be able to buy a house for his parents, who lost their home to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Lacy’s family home was completely destroyed which forced them to live in a trailer where he slept on a couch, in Geismar, La. In 2014, Lacy fulfilled his promise to his family and bought them a beautiful new house.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) November 18, 2014
Many athletes strive to buy houses and cars for their parents if they ever make it big in sports. Unfortunately, not all receive the opportunity to follow through with their promises.
Lacy’s mom shared this regarding his generous act:
“For him to provide us with the home, all I could do was cry and just thank God.”
For those who have had the opportunity to meet the young running back, the consensus is that he is a humble, and genuinely nice guy:
Had the opportunity to meet Eddie Lacy tonight. Super nice guy! pic.twitter.com/lkPcYgGM78
— Rich Kluth (@kluther1) January 6, 2015
Lacy is also not afraid to completely embarrass himself like he did for a recent charity event at Next Door Milwaukee. The husky 5-foot-11 230 pound running back jumped aboard a tricycle and got completely dusted by his young competition. A tiny girl emerged from the bystanders and actually had to push Lacy to get him moving.
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) May 19, 2015
Props to Lacy for keeping it real. He appears to be a complete joy to work with and to get to know on and off the field.
Steve Weatherford, punter New York Giants
Weatherford, like Rivers mentioned above, is a fantastic family guy. For those who follow Weatherford, he is very inspirational and outspoken in the social media world. It appears also that he instills his good practices upon his children.
— Life of Dad (@LifeofDadShow) August 16, 2015
Weatherford’s Twitter and Instagram account are chalk-full with pictures, videos and Snapchats of his fans and his family including this newest addition.
When he is not at the gym doing his insane workouts, playing football or hanging out with his family, Weatherford spends his time helping others to fulfill their dreams. He has been know to attend a prom or two in his day, making the night of his lucky date.
— theScore (@theScore) June 7, 2014
From what we can gather, Weatherford is also a very spiritual person and isn’t afraid to share his words of encouragement with the world.
“If you ask God for a beautiful Oak Tree, sometimes all you need is an acorn”
Nothing in life will be simply “given” to you, when preparation meets opportunity that is when success can be found. Life isn’t fair, there are a lot of things that are out of our control, the only things in life that can be controlled are ATTITUDE & EFFORT.”
The punter also founded the World Champion Steve Weatherford Foundation, which features this bi-line:
“The World Champion Foundation is going to serves as a central vehicle where winners from across the globe can support the dreams of aspiring champions to be,” says Weatherford. “It’s the single umbrella under which my many endeavors can find shelter and resources… and it’s a dream come true for me.”
Additionally, Weatherford also serves as a key spokesperson for Second Chance Toys, Rush the Punter, Kicks for Kids and Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
If you’re one to be out there on social media, chances are you may run across one of Weatherford’s inspiring posts.